The people of Weston-super-Mare show their appreciation for their RNLI by helping to raise over half a million pounds.

The volunteers of Weston RNLI, with the help of surrounding areas, have managed to beat their target for raising funds towards a new Lifeboat station.

In January 2013, when it became clear that the RNLI crew would have to leave their home of 132 years, work began to find a site for a new lifeboat station to serve Weston and those in trouble on the sea. The RNLI started an Appeal, initially joint with Portishead, as the Bristol Channel Appeal. Portishead was found a site and built quickly but Weston has proved a more difficult challenge.

The initial target for Weston was to raise £300,000 in three years. A great deal of work went into raising this money. Many events were held, demonstrations done, bucket’s waved and collecting boxes positioned. There was also help from surrounding RNLI fund raising branches and some from far away, particularly in the Midlands..

The fundraising branch led by Peter Elmont worked very closely with the crew of the temporary station on Knightstone Piazza led by Charlotte Conroy. As one team they all gave up a great deal of time and effort to devote to raising money for the Appeal. As a result the appeal target which should have been reached by January 2016 was actually passed in mid 2015. The fundraisers carried on regardless and the money kept coming in. As a result there was a celebration on Saturday 16th July when all involved got together to celebrate reaching the magnificent total of £500,000.

Photographs were taken of the local team plus those from surrounding branches  followed by a buffet in Stones Restaurant. The buffet was sponsored by Boost Labcare who are a UKAS accredited laboratory providing laboratory equipment sales, calibration and maintenance.  They conduct UKAS calibrations on a wide range of equipment from digital thermometers through to autoclaves.

Pete Elmont said:  ‘I am humbled and delighted that this sum has been reached. It is all due to the efforts of our team plus the generosity of the people of Weston and I am very proud of them. The cost of a new station is going to be well over one million pounds so we need to keep working.

Charlotte Conroy said: ‘This sum is superb. It has proved very difficult to find the right site for our station although things are now moving forward quite quickly. The RNLI is determined to find the right site as we are the busiest station on this coast and last year alone launched 48 times and saved at least 13 lives. This sum will all be spent building the station which will allow my crew to carry on with their dedicated role of saving lives at sea.

Notes to editors
•    Photo show the combined fund raisers and crew.